Interviews

Modest Conversations - The Information

Sam Lessin

5 FANS

The Information presents Modest Conversations hosted by Sam Lessin, who writes the site's regular 'Modest Conversations' column. Modest Conversations are short conversations with interesting people about technology, culture, politics, and whatever e...Show More

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On Income Sharing Agreements with Erik Torenberg

31:07 | Feb 10th

Sam and Erik discuss ISAs / and the future of equity investing in people / personal income vs. debt financing.

30 - Runaway Objective Functions & Human Agency - Tim O’Reilly

1:03:33 | Nov 19th, 2017

Tim and I discuss some of the thinking around his new book WTF - What’s The Future and Why It’s Up To Us. We talk in particular about our world of runaway objective functions, and the role human agency must play to manage to a future we want vs. one...Show More

29 - Attention and Addiction & What To Actually Do About It - Tristan Harris Fmr. Google

56:24 | Nov 5th, 2017

Tristan and I talk about his viewpoint and mission around the attention economy and addition. We also debate ideas on what to practically do about it.

28 - Lines - Waiting For Work To Be Done & Work To Do - Andrew Kortina co-founder Fin & Venmo

21:20 | Oct 30th, 2017

Kortina and I discuss how much of modern life is about lines. As consumers we wait on line for restaurants, takeoff windows, and countless other experiences. As producers many of us - not just ER doctors - spend a good percentage of our 'working'...Show More

27 - The Human Side of Tech & Growth Mindset - Blake Barnes Director of Product at Instagram

49:30 | Oct 15th, 2017

Blake joins to discuss the human side of technology - growth mindset, failure, and success. How do the people who build technology, and the ways they collaborate on teams, and the culture of tech companies define the products that come out?

26 - Homo Deus in Short - Erik Torenberg, ProductHunt & co-founder Village Global VC

32:50 | Oct 8th, 2017

Erik and I discuss the ins-and-outs of Homo Deus, which has become extremely popular in Silicon Valley. What is the thesis? What is the appeal? What makes sense and what is a stretch?

25 - Making of the Tree of Ténéré at Burning Man - Zach Smith, Founder of The Project

40:47 | Oct 1st, 2017

Zach Smith joins for a Modest Conversation on the making of the Tree of Ténéré at Burning Man. Where the project came from, trials and travails of getting it done, and thoughts on doing large scale art projects at Burning Man

24 - The Golden Age of Oncology - Racquel Bracken of Venrock

31:29 | Sep 18th, 2017

Racquel joins to talk about all that is changing in the world of oncology, and why she things we are entering the golden age of oncology.

23 - The Environment - Alyssa Ravasio of Hipcamp

32:39 | Sep 10th, 2017

Alyssa joins for a modest conversation about technology is changing how we relate to nature, the environment, climate change, extinction, and more.

22 - On Bitcoin Cash & New Ways Crypto-Projects Move Forward - Alexia Bonatsos - Fmr Techcrunch

32:50 | Aug 6th, 2017

Alexia and I discuss the last week in Crypto and Bitcoin Cash. What does it look like when there is a pattern for faster innovation without 'consensus' in the cyrpto world? How does it change the power and importance of exchanges?

21 - On Product Management - Rousseau Kazi of FB and TBA

32:45 | Jul 29th, 2017

Rousseau joins to discuss lessons from product management.

20 - Building Platform Products - Raylene Yung of Stripe & FB

38:23 | Jul 23rd, 2017

Raylene currently leads the applications team at Stripe, and formerly was an engineering manager at Facebook. She joins me to discuss building platforms from a product and engineering perspective.

19 - Viewpoint From The Silicon Valley Entering Class of ‘17 - Samantha Wiener

23:31 | Jul 16th, 2017

Samantha joins as a representative of the Silicon Valley entering class of 2017 having just graduated from Columbia CS and moving on to Facebook engineering. talks about her projects and what interests her at the intersection of tech and the broade...Show More

18 - Congestion & Inequality, The Problems of The Modern City - Eran Shir of Nexar

27:33 | Jul 9th, 2017

Eran joins me to discuss autonomy & the problem of the modern city - in particular congestion, inequality and autonomy.

17 - What You Know vs. Who You Know - Auren Hoffman of SafeGraph and LiveRamp

25:07 | Jul 1st, 2017

Auren Hoffman joins me to discuss whether it is better to know things or know people.. And how technology is changing the dynamic.

16 - Building Things Competitors Can't Measure - Sriram Krishnan, Fmr Snap & FB

33:54 | Jun 25th, 2017

Sriram Krishnan who worked on monetization products at Snap talks about building things your competitors can't measure.

15 - Jobs, UBI, and Inequality - Joe Lonsdale, 8VC

23:54 | Jun 11th, 2017

Joe Lonsdale, Founder of 8VC discuss jobs, universal base income, and inequality and many other dangerous topics.

14 - On Bitcoin, Ethereum, ICOs vs. Venture Capital - Alexia Tsotsis, Fmr TechCrunch

26:33 | Jun 4th, 2017

Alexia and I discuss crypto-currencies and the evolving conversation about the future of fundraising - initial coin offerings and venture capital.

13 - How You Build Meaningful Relationships with Kids and Others - Tod Francis, Shasta Ventures

21:15 | May 29th, 2017

For this holiday weekend Tod Francis shares some of the research he has done on how you build meaningful relationships with children and other important people in your life.

12 - The YC AI vertical and big-company AI advantages - Daniel Gross of YC, Apple, Greplin

30:25 | May 21st, 2017

Daniel and I discuss the new YC AI vertical and how he is trying to empower startups with the AI advantages that big companies usually have unto themselves

11 - AI, Real or False Please Explain - Lukas Biewald of Crowdflower & OpenAI

26:09 | May 21st, 2017

Lukas and I discuss AI, vision problems, and what is real vs. overstated about the near future of machine intelligence.

10 - The Morning Routine of 2027 and 2047 - Amanda Peyton, co-founder Grand St. & Google Alum

42:02 | May 14th, 2017

Amanda and I pace out what a morning routine might look like in +10 and +30 years in the future. What will be the same about morning routines and what will technology change?

09 - Have We Reached The Limits of VC? - Bryce Roberts of OATV & Indie.vc

15:45 | May 7th, 2017

Bryce, a co-founder of O'Reilly AlphaTech Ventures and Indie.vc joins to talk about the limits of traditional venture capital. What can / can’t traditional venture capital support in terms of company building in 2017? What are some financing altern...Show More

08 - Entrepreneurial Resilience - Leila Janah, Founder Samasource and LXMI

28:40 | Apr 30th, 2017

Leila, the founder of Samasource and LXMI joins to talk about entrepreneurial resilience and how to avoid ‘punk-ing out’. We talk about emotional stability, balance, and the lack thereof. When to stay the course vs. swerve.

07 - The Future of Real Estate with Brad Hargreaves, Founder of Common & General Assembly

27:17 | Apr 23rd, 2017

Brad Hargreaves, the founder of Common and co-founder of General Assembly joins to discuss Real Estate. We focus on topics like Millennial ‘Poverty’, how the death of retail is changing real-estate financing, and - of course - self-driving technolog...Show More

06 - Meditation, the Next Yoga-Toothbrush with Eric Antonow of Metabolic, Public Med, FB, GOOG

14:30 | Apr 16th, 2017

Eric Antonow - Founder of Public Meditation (https://www.facebook.com/pubmeditation) joins to discuss why meditation is either the next Yoga or Toothbrush or both.

05 - New York Tech & Social Media Fame - Greg Galant, Found Muck Rack and The Shorty Awards

25:23 | Apr 9th, 2017

Greg Galant, the founder of Muck Rack and The Shorty Awards joins for a conversation on New York Tech and Social Media Fame.

04 - Online & Offline Communities in a Data Deluged World - Justin Shaffer, Founder Public Studio

25:53 | Mar 26th, 2017

Justin Shaffer of Hot-potato, Facebook, and Now Public Studio joins to discuss online and offline communities... and how our world of ever-present communication and access changes how people traverse and move in and out of their personal 'bubbles'

03 - Unions, Regulatory Capture, and Tech - Joe Green, Founder FWD.us

26:08 | Mar 25th, 2017

Joe Green, of Causes, Nation-Builder, and FWD.US joins to discuss some ideas around unions, organizing, and regulatory capture in an era of technology companies.

02 - Who Drives Corporate Responsibility and Benefits? - Andrew Kortina Founder Fin, Venmo

15:09 | Mar 18th, 2017

Andrew Kortina, my Fin co-founder and former founder of Venmo joins me to discuss some ideas around corporate responsibility, benefits, and the role technology companies play across political-social-and economic worlds in a world of declining civic a...Show More

01 - Digital Drugs, VR and more - Dave Morin, Partner Slow Ventures

19:15 | Mar 10th, 2017

Sam and Dave discuss Dave's concept of 'digital drugs' and an alternative way to think about experiences like VR. Brain health and the FDA.

00 - Transparency - Good or Bad with Will Quist, Managing Partner Slow Ventures

11:43 | Mar 5th, 2017

Sam and Will discuss whether or not added transparency is a good or bad thing for getting things done in the world.